AVESTHAGEN RESTRUCTURES ITS OPERATIONS

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AVESTHAGEN, Bangalore-based R&D driven biotechnology company, has restructured its operations into four independent profit and loss (P&L) entities as it wants these units to take care of their own financial requirement. Some of its subsidiaries will be brought under these P&Ls.

The existing areas of the company’s business namely bionutrition, bioagri and biopharma will be three P&Ls while the fourth one will the diagnostics and drug discovery work which Avesthagen wants to get into.

Villoo Morawala Patell, chairperson and managing director of Avesthagen said: “We are seeing a lot of interest in various players wanting to fund specific projects so we have restructured each unit into a self-sufficient entity. Avesthagen will now just be the parent or umbrella company for all these P&Ls.”

The move is aimed at the P&Ls raising their own finance and deliver the goods. “We are also cleaning up the organisation and hiring people,” she said. It has 450 employees, down from its earlier number of 650. Ms Patell said some employees left on their own.

The bionutrition P&L will include marketing subsidiary Good Earth while bioagri P&L will comprise of the seeds company Atash and agri- related R&D. The drug discovery P&L will focus on the Avesthagenome project and work on cancer stem cells. The company has already filed a patent for one of the markers in breast cancer and will shortly be publishing a paper in science journal ‘Nature’. The biopharma P&L is working on developing biosimilars in collaboration with Indian generic major Cipla.

Avesthagen has four molecules in the biopharma segment which are in pre-clinical stage. These are in therapy areas of cancer, auto-immune and anaemia.
HONG KONG-BASED TELECOM FIRM PACNET UPS STAKE IN INDIAN JV TO 74%

HONG Kong-based telecom firm Pacnet has said that it has raised its shareholding in its Indian arm—Pacific Internet—to 74% for an undisclosed amount. Pacific Internet will apply for national and international long-distance licences in India and is looking at acquisitions or mergers to expand its footprint here, its chief executive officer Bill Barney said. Pacific Internet will target companies valued at around $100 million, he added.

“We are looking at IT infrastructure companies as well as Internet service providers for acquisitions. We are in talks with few of them, but only in the consultative stage,” Mr Barney said. The company will also raise funds externally, if required, he added.

Pacnet is present in India as Pacific Internet with its joint venture partner Future World. Pacnet now holds 74% in Pacific Internet, up from 55%, which it held earlier while its JV partner Future World’s holding has now been reduced to 26%. At present, India accounts for about 10% or about $70 million of Pacnet’s global revenues. The company expects that its Indian operations will contribute about 30% of its total revenues in the near future. Pacnet registered global revenues of $500 million in 2008.

Pacnet had received approval from the foreign investment promotion board (FIPB) to increase its shareholding in Pacific Internet and also to apply for national and international long distance (NLD & ILD) licenses. It will make an investment of close to $10 million for the rollout. The company currently offers Internet services in six cities across the country including Bangalore, Chennai, Mumbai, Pune, Gurgaon and Hyderabad. Pacnet executives also said that the company was planning to venture into the under sea cable space in India.

“Together with our JV partner FutureWorld India, we have further capitalised Pacific Internet India Pvt Ltd to support our network rollout in India. We will soon be rolling out ILD and NLD services after we get the licenses,” Mr Barney said.

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